Will Mice Drink My Dogs Water?

Why Might Mice Drink a Dog’s Water?

Mice need water to survive, just like any living creature. While mice get some moisture from the food they eat, they still require additional water sources to avoid dehydration. With their small size and agility, mice can access water from many places in and around the home. One potential water source is a dog’s water bowl.

Dog bowls can be easily accessible to mice, especially if the bowl is kept on the floor. Mice are naturally curious and will explore new sources of food and water as they find them. Additionally, mice may be attracted to the smell and taste of a dog’s saliva that accumulates in the water bowl. The salt and minerals in the saliva can provide extra nutrients that appeal to mice.

With their high metabolism and resulting need for frequent water intake, mice will take advantage of any readily available water sources they encounter. Drinking from dog bowls, even if not their first choice, can help sustain mice that have made their way indoors and provide the hydration they require to survive.

According to one Reddit user, after discovering mice in her home it “dawned on me that its very likely the mice have been drinking from my dog’s water bowl.” Like all living things, mice need water, and dog bowls can provide convenient access when indoors.

Potential Risks of Mice Drinking Dog Water

There are several potential risks that can arise when mice drink from a dog’s water bowl. One major concern is disease transmission between mice and dogs. Mice can carry diseases like leptospirosis, salmonella, and hantavirus which can spread to dogs if they drink from a contaminated water bowl.

Mice contaminate water in a few ways – their urine and feces can get into the water, and any diseases they carry can shed into the water as well. A mouse with leptospirosis urinating into a dog’s water bowl poses a real risk of the dog contracting the disease by drinking the infected water. Dogs with leptospirosis will show symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and jaundice.

The water bowl itself can also become contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites when mice drink from it. This creates an unsafe drinking source for dogs that can make them sick. To prevent contamination, dog water bowls should be thoroughly washed, disinfected, and refilled with fresh water daily.

Another issue that can arise is fighting between dogs and mice over the water source. If mice are frequently drinking from a dog’s water bowl, the dog may start viewing the mice as a threat. This can lead to stressful situations where dogs try to defend their territory, resulting in them chasing, biting, or killing mice that get too close. It’s best to discourage mice from approaching dog water bowls to avoid this conflict.

Preventing Mice from Accessing Dog Water

One of the best ways to prevent mice from drinking a dog’s water is to elevate the water bowl. Placing the bowl on an elevated stand or table makes it harder for mice to access. According to [1], using a raised water bowl on a low table with deterrents on the legs can prevent mice from climbing up. Just make sure the stand is sturdy so active dogs don’t tip it over.

You can also opt for heavy, non-tip water bowls. Bowls made of ceramic, steel, or stone are harder for mice to knock over and spill. Place these away from walls and other surfaces mice can jump from [2]. When your dog isn’t drinking, remove any water bowls so they aren’t available to mice.

Setting mousetraps around your dog’s water bowl is another option to capture and remove mice in the area [1]. Just be sure to place the traps where your dog can’t access them. You can also try sprinkling natural repellents like peppermint oil around the outer edges of bowls.

With some simple deterrents, you can keep mice away from your dog’s water and prevent contamination or sharing of resources.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/dogs/comments/12d9ldn/mice_in_dog_bowls/

[2] https://www.instructables.com/Elevated-Dog-Dish-and-Controlling-Mice/

Signs Mice are Drinking Dog Water

There are a few key signs that mice may be drinking from your dog’s water bowl:

  • Mouse droppings around the dog’s water bowl – Finding mouse droppings near the water bowl is one of the clearest signs mice have been accessing it. According to a Reddit user, they saw mouse droppings around their dog’s water bowl and realized mice had likely been drinking from it (https://www.reddit.com/r/AskVet/comments/72tw65/mice_drank_from_my_dogs_water_bowl/).
  • Tipped over water bowl – If the dog’s water bowl is found tipped over, there’s a chance mice knocked it over while trying to get water, especially if it happens repeatedly.
  • Seeing mice around the dog’s water bowl – Actually witnessing mice drinking from the bowl or scurrying around it is a definite confirmation they are accessing the water.
  • Water bowl water disappears quickly – If the dog’s water bowl seems to empty quicker than normal without explanation, mice may be stealing sips when no one is watching. According to Preventive Vet, public dog water bowls can pose health risks because multiple dogs and rodents may use the same bowl (https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/public-dog-water-bowls-think-before-they-drink).

Paying attention to these signs can help determine if mice are getting into a dog’s water. Addressing the issue quickly can prevent contamination and potential health risks.

Diseases Transmissible Between Mice and Dogs

Unfortunately, mice can transmit several concerning diseases to dogs through contact with their urine, feces, or saliva. Some of the most notable include:

Leptospirosis – A bacterial disease that can lead to kidney or liver failure in dogs. It is spread through contact with the urine of infected mice and rats (1). Dogs may show symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or jaundice. Veterinary care and antibiotics are required for treatment.

Salmonellosis – A bacterial infection often transmitted through rodent feces. It causes vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy in dogs. Supportive veterinary treatment is required, and antibiotics may be prescribed in severe cases (2).

Ringworm – A highly contagious fungal infection of the skin, spread through contact with infected rodents. In dogs, it causes circular skin lesions and hair loss. Ringworm requires antifungal treatment and disinfection of the home to control spread (3).

Hantavirus – A rare but often fatal viral disease carried by rodents. Transmission to dogs typically requires direct contact with rodent urine, saliva or droppings. Veterinary intensive care is needed, but prognosis is often poor (4).

Tick-borne diseases – Mice can carry ticks infected with Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other dangerous tick diseases transmissible to dogs. Regular tick prevention is key to reducing risk (5).

Due to these risks, it’s important to minimize mice access to dog bowls, promptly treat any rodent infestation, and monitor dogs for signs of illness if mice are active in the home.

(1) https://www.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/zoo/lepto-owners.pdf
(2) https://wagwalking.com/wellness/can-dogs-get-salmonella
(3) https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/ringworm-dogs-everything-you-need-know
(4) https://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/pdf/HPS_in_Pets-508.pdf
(5) https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-tick-prevention-dogs

Cleaning Contaminated Water Bowls

If you suspect mice have been drinking from your dog’s water bowl, it’s important to thoroughly clean and disinfect the bowl. Mice can transmit diseases through their urine and feces which could contaminate the water. Here are some tips for cleaning a contaminated water bowl:

First, wash the bowl with hot soapy water. Use a scrub brush to remove any dirt, grime, or biofilm that has built up. Rinse the bowl thoroughly after washing. Next, disinfect the bowl using a bleach or vinegar solution. For bleach, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. For vinegar, mix equal parts vinegar and water. Allow the disinfecting solution to sit in the bowl for at least 10 minutes before rinsing.

Scrub all surfaces of the bowl with the disinfecting solution, paying close attention to cracks or crevices where bacteria can hide. Finally, rinse the bowl very thoroughly until all traces of bleach or vinegar are gone. Allow the bowl to air dry completely before refilling with fresh water.

Properly disinfecting your dog’s water bowl helps kill dangerous bacteria left behind by mice. By thoroughly cleaning and scrubbing the bowl, you can remove biofilm where bacteria grows. Be sure to rinse away all disinfecting solution when done for the safety of your pets.

Providing Mice an Alternative Water Source

One humane way to discourage mice from drinking a dog’s water is to provide them with an alternative water source elsewhere. Mice need water to survive, so completely cutting off their access can lead to dehydration. Instead, place small bowls of water for mice in areas away from your dog’s bowls. Good spots are in garages, sheds, or discreet corners of a yard.

According to the Truly Nolen pest control company, wild mice will drink from natural sources like ponds and puddles [1]. You can create a small backyard pond or bird bath that mice can safely access without encountering pets. Make sure to change the water frequently to prevent mosquito breeding.

Mice will also drink from any leaky plumbing inside the home. Fixing drips and leaks denies them this water source. The University of Emory recommends checking areas around water pipes, faucets, and toilets for signs of mice drinking [2]. Properly sealing up plumbing removes an attractive water source for mice.

Mouse-Proofing Around Dog Bowls

One of the best ways to prevent mice from accessing your dog’s food and water is to mouse-proof the areas around where the bowls are placed. Here are some tips for keeping mice away from your dog’s feeding area:

Seal any cracks or holes along baseboards or walls near where the dog bowls are kept. Mice can squeeze through openings as small as 1/4 inch, so be sure to seal up any gaps with caulk or steel wool (https://www.instructables.com/Elevated-Dog-Dish-and-Controlling-Mice/). This will prevent mice from coming in and out along the walls.

Use copper mesh or steel wool to fill in any spaces around pipes or wiring where the wall meets the floor. This blocks access points for mice to enter (https://www.hepper.com/how-to-keep-mice-away-from-dog-food/). Make sure there are no openings around the entire perimeter of the wall.

Keep all dog food stored in sealed, chew-proof containers rather than leaving kibble in bowls overnight. Metal or hard plastic containers with tight lids prevent mice from gaining access (https://www.horizonstructures.com/blog/how-to-safely-rodent-proof-your-dogs-outdoor-kennel/). Take away food bowls before bedtime.

With some diligent proofing and preventative measures, you can help block mice from getting into your dog’s food and water bowls. Focus on sealing up any possible entry points and keeping kibble contained.

Humane Mouse Removal Methods

There are some humane methods to remove mice from your home without harming them:

  • Use snap traps designed to kill mice instantly. Place them along walls or in areas with signs of mouse activity. Check traps frequently and dispose of any caught mice humanely (source).
  • Seal any entry points so mice can’t get back in. Look for gaps around pipes, cracks in the foundation, openings around chimneys, etc. Use steel wool, caulk, foam sealant or other materials to plug holes (source).
  • Remove any outside food sources like pet food, bird feeders or trash. Mice won’t hang around if there’s no food (source).
  • Try electronic ultrasonic deterrents that emit high-frequency sounds to drive mice away. They are humane and chemical-free (source).
  • Use live capture traps so you can release mice outdoors unharmed. Check traps frequently and release mice within 100 yards of where they were caught (source).

When to Call a Professional for Mouse Problems

While catching a lone mouse here and there around your home can often be managed through humane traps and home remedies, there are certain situations in which a professional exterminator should be called in to deal with a more severe infestation:

If you spot large numbers of mice, this could signal a substantial infestation that will require the tools and expertise of an exterminator to fully eliminate. An invasion of many mice at once may overwhelm homemade trapping efforts and require commercial-grade traps, baits and rodenticides only available to professionals.

Seeing mice that appear sick, lethargic or acting strangely could mean there is a diseased group of mice that require specialized removal methods. Poison or traps employed by an exterminator can prevent the spread of illnesses within the mouse colony.

Aggressive mice that approach or attack pets warrant professional services, as this is well-beyond normal mouse behavior and indicates a serious problem. The exterminator can humanely remove the aggressive mice while also finding and sealing points of entry to prevent future encounters.

If DIY efforts and homemade humane traps have failed to solve the mouse issue over time, this signals that a more powerful intervention is needed. A professional exterminator has industrial-strength tools, poisons and methods to eliminate even resilient, reproduce mouse colonies that can withstand homemade remedies.[1]

Scroll to Top